Montevallo falls short, Magette shines

Published 11:45 am Friday, January 16, 2009

When it came to the University of Montevallo Falcons (8-10, 1-2) and the University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers (10-5, 3-0), it was no question who held the keys to kingdom in the Gulf South Conference hardwood rivalry. The Falcons’ win streak spanned 10 games.

That streak was reset Thursday night in Bank Trust Arena when the Chargers held off the Falcons, 64-61, to remain unbeaten in GSC play. Former Spain Park guard Josh Magette highlighted the road win with a career-high tying 22-point outing.

The loss was Montevallo’s first since head coach Danny Young took over the men’s basketball program in 2003.

“I don’t think we came out ready to play. I thought we came out flat tonight,” Young said. “Trading three’s for two’s, you just can’t do it and win.”

Five of those 3-pointers came from Magette.

“We didn’t make some key stops down the stretch and allowed him (Magette) to step up and make some shots and he did,” Young said.

Shooting woes allowed the visiting Chargers to dash out to an early 15-2 lead over the Falcons as nothing would fall in the cup for the home team. Despite shooting just below 30 percent from the field, the Falcons only trailed by six going into the half, 29-23.

Both teams came to play in the second half, each starting with the hot hand. Terrill Humphrey knocked in a team high 17 points for the Falcons, while Freddy Little followed with 15 points in the second half. Nate Flowers chipped in a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

However, neither could topple the stroke of Magette. During a timeout, with the game on the line, Charger head coach Lennie Acuff knew his team would have to make a play with the game tied at 56-56 and less than five minutes to go.

Quickly thereafter, Magette let one fly from well beyond the arc to put his team back in front by three. Minutes later, he did it again.

“I told them in the timeout that someone needed to step up and make a play and, amazingly, it was a freshman,” Acuff said of Magette. “He’s special and he showed a little bit more of that tonight.”

Magette, the 2007-08 Shelby County Reporter Player of the Year, is one of the rare players that see the court at UAH as a true freshman.

“Josh is a winner. He plays with poise well beyond his years, and most importantly, he is a great kid. Everyone believes in him, and the shot in the arm he has given our team is almost beyond belief. I don’t know if I have ever seen a freshman have more of an impact as he has with us,” Acuff said.

The game versus the Falcons was one Magette had looked forward to for quite some time and the fast start made all the difference in the world.

“I knew it was going to be a tough game. It was the first time for me to play in this rivalry and in front of a lot of people from home,” Magette said, as a large crowd of fans and family awaited him on the court. “It was good for me to hit a few shots and gain some confidence early. Doing that allowed me to be comfortable in the second half.”

Magette takes his GSC East first-place Chargers to West Alabama on Saturday, while the Falcons host Carver Bible College on Saturday at 3 p.m.